Case Study: Caleb Sutherland
Caleb, a former licensed EMT, founded his startup because he saw a need in the medical device industry when he witnessed firsthand the problems with lung intubation.
“[Mine] was not necessarily a very new idea,” Caleb says. “There are one or two products out there on the market that accomplish lung isolation – the problem with them is that they are extremely cumbersome, extremely difficult to work with, and not very efficient.
“So I said, ‘How do we take this idea and make it as simple and effective as possible?’”
So ever the innovator, Caleb went to college, got a business management degree, and decided to do something about it.
But as anyone who’s ever launched or worked for a startup knows, there is much to do – and often very little time to do it all before going to market.
And one of those pressing-but-not-priority tasks was a social media presence – or rather a complete lack thereof.
“I was starting from the ground up,” Caleb shares. “I didn’t have accounts where I could then turn the reins over. Plus, I am terrible at social media. I have hard enough of a time keeping up my personal accounts.
“But I knew we needed to have a presence for the company – but I was definitely not the person to do that.”
Then, serendipitously, his brother heard a plug for BELAY on a podcast – and while he didn’t recognize his need for the services then, it “… just kept percolating and almost bugging me because [it] was just so cool. Finally, one day I was like, ‘You know what? I’m going to sit down. I’m going to look at it.’
“And so I looked up the website, saw the SMS, and I was like, ‘Oh, wow. That’s actually what I could really use.’”
That SMS was BELAY rock star Jackie, armed with a background in journalism and communication.
“[She] came in and really started from the ground up,” he says. “She created accounts for the company. She created everything.”
With everything set up, Jackie and Caleb meet once a week for half an hour to address what needs to be communicated on – and approved for – the channels.
“She created folders where everything is listed out – what’s coming up for the next week or two – so I can look through it, approve it, and edit it before it goes out,” Caleb says. “She [also] has folders on how we’re doing, what kind of feedback we’re getting, what times of days work best, what days work best, whether weekends work.
“I really gave a lot of free reign because if I wanted to do it myself, I’d have done it myself. [And] I think that trust has also helped a lot in building and giving [Jackie] the freedom to create all of this – and I still have the last say.”
And the subsequent phase of his burgeoning social media presence only added to Caleb’s enthusiasm.
“Watching [our social media] gain traction is fascinating,” he shares. “We are growing our followers and engagement and we got to the point two weeks ago that we started boosting posts and doing more ads.
“And we’ve accumulated enough data that we can start analyzing it, and then pivoting and adjusting.”
“I don’t really understand that philosophy of trying to do everything yourself,” Caleb adds. “I know what I’m good at, and I know what I’m bad at, and if I’m going to hire someone to do something, I want them to be able to do that job. I don’t want to stand in the way, and I don’t want to hire someone and then also try to tell them how to do what I hired them to do.”
Trust in delegation? Music to our ears.
“From my end, it was super simple – not a single headache,” he says. “And that really was what I was looking for in the process because I really didn’t have the knowledge.
“I hired [BELAY] because they are the experts so I relied on their expertise. And I’m super glad I did. It was an amazingly efficient and simple process, and super easy on me.
“I can see how people could have questions with that, but hopefully this helps give them the ability to trust and say, ‘You know, they do know what they’re doing. They are experts at this.’ It requires a certain level of vulnerability and trust, but it’s a great process. I’m a complete fan.”
But Caleb wasn’t the only fan BELAY gained after his brother – who referred him – received a referral bonus.
“He isn’t a client so it absolutely shocked my brother,” Caleb laughs. “He was like, ‘Oh, my word.’ Usually, [businesses] only do referrals for people who are clients – so that alone spoke volumes, you know? That’s impressive.
“BELAY is just a fantastic company.”
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